The President, OPay-Nigeria, Pharm. Olu Akanmu, has urged members of the Pharmaceutical Association of Nigerian Students (PANS), University of Lagos (UNILAG) Chapter to leverage opportunities provided by health tech in order to improve patient outcomes as well as streamline healthcare delivery services.
He said this at the Annual Health Week of UNILAG PANS, which held at the New Great Hall, LUTH, Idi-Araba, Lagos, with the theme: “Pharma-evolution: Finding relevance as a 21st century pharmacist – beyond the lecture room.”
Akanmu, who was represented by Pharm. Oladipo Lawal-Solarin, sensitised the students on finding a career path in Pharmacy and steps they need to take in setting them on the right pedestal as they transition from the university to the real world.
Solarin noted that technology has been included in scientific and non-scientific processes to achieve specific tasks, especially in the various industries.
According to him: “Healthcare is rapidly changing and technology is driving that change. Right now, technological advances that are spearheading the healthcare sector are: telemedicine, e-Pharmacy, home-based testing systems, logistics and supply chain, inventory management, saas, payment fulfillment (Wallet as a service) and precision and preventive medicine.
“The healthcare realm in 2023 is about to see the irresistible technological evolution with the worldwide economic falloff.
“For the Nigerian space, the key trends in health tech space that I advise you to start putting interests in are: data aggregators (Big data), telemedicine experts, logistics and supply chain innovators, electronic health records/inventory management software providers, payment solutions specialists and HMO’s.”
He advised them not just to be regular pharmacists, but rather embrace the use of technology to solve problems specific to their industry from improving payment solutions (FINTECH), healthcare solutions (logistics, medical devices, precision medicine), agricultural engineering (seed engineering) among others.
In his opening remarks, the PANS President, Opeyemi Salami, expressed his deep gratitude for the love and support given to him by the department and further thanked the association members for their hard work, commitment and dedication in making sure the group is a better place.
Highlighting some of the milestones achieved during his administration, he said: “We attended the PANS National Annual Convention at the University of Uyo in 2021 and the convention at Igbinedion University Okada in 2022 with a total number of 30 delegates.
“We also paid an industrial visit to Emzor’s manufacturing plant in Sagamu, Lagos State. Over 100 Pansites went on the visit and it turned out to be a very wonderful and insightful experience.
“Under our leadership, the Federal Scholarship Board was able to pay scholarships to over 20 Pansites.
“The Excos, senators and some Pansites went on over 15 courtesy visits to executives in the pharmaceutical industry. These visits yielded a lot of revenue and resources that helped sponsor a lot of projects.”
The Nexus administration also revitalised some dormant projects such as PANS Public Health Team, PANS Research Club, Skills Acquisition Club, and Mentor-Mentees Programme, Salami added.
“I am proud to have commissioned the construction of the first emblem of the association- a fountain in the Faculty of Pharmacy, University of Lagos. This fountain represents nexus commitment to excellence and our dedication to the betterment of our association,” Salami said.
He specially appreciated the Dean of the Faculty, Prof. Adepoju Bello, who supported the executives in every step of the way and also thanked the Sub-Dean of the Faculty, Dr Aderemi Williams, staff advisers, Dr Arinola Joda and Dr Margaret Ilomuanya.
Also speaking at the event, Dr Ilomuanya appealed to the students never to over rate the positive effect of pharmacy employment opportunities.
“Don’t ever settle even if you graduate and have a job; keep learning, growing and becoming better. The most exciting part of your journey is studying. But don’t just study, please work hard as well.
“Unfortunately, society is not developed enough to see the value in your profession compared to random drug selling. Hence, you must be ready to educate members of the society on the value you can deliver.
“Don’t go into society as a big man. Go to teach and train the society,” she said.
Overall, the symposium was designed to change students’ orientation from a conservative attitude towards Pharmacy to a more progressive and disruptive approach.
Other prominent pharmacists and personalities who graced the event were: Pharm. Abimbola Adebakin, CEO Advantage Health Africa Panelist; Pharm Adetutu Afolabi, co-founder, Hazon Holdings; Dr Modupe Oyawole, director of Pharmacy, LASUTH; Pharm Samson Omattah, director, Phillips Pharmaceuticals Ltd; Pharm Morris Nyarko, country manager, Astrazeneca Nigeria; Pharm. Oluseye Agboola, chairman/CEO, Dorternag Ventures Ltd; Dr Mohammed Musa Zango, MD, NNPC Medicals; Pharm. Babayemi Oyekunle, chairman, PSN Lagos State; Mr Omaruaye Ocheneochuko, CEO, New Heights Pharmaceuticals Ltd; and Pharm Adedipo Adetuyi, founder/MD, Oakleaf Pharmaceutical Ltd.